Daniel Mayes, Staff Reporter
Despite overcoming a double-digit second half deficit, the Jacksonville State women’s basketball team fell 69-62 in a road contest against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday afternoon.
The Gamecocks fought back from a 10-point SIUE lead in the third quarter to take a lead, but the Cougars seized victory with a strong finish in the final period.
The old saying “basketball is a game of runs” certainly proved true in the first quarter of Saturday’s contest.
SIUE opened the game on a 6-0 run, but Jacksonville State quickly responded with a 10-0 spurt of their own to claim the lead.
The Cougars then scored eight straight before a Lacey Buchanon bucket made the tally 14-12 in favor of SIUE at the end of the first.
Buchanon, normally a double-figure scorer for the Gamecocks, struggled to put the ball in the basket on Saturday, shooting just 2-11 and finishing with five points, but ended the game with a career-high 11 assists against the Cougars.
JSU grabbed the lead back in the second quarter thanks in large part to an unexpected source of scoring off of the bench.
Jada Coggins, a redshirt freshman who has played sparingly in just nine games this season, sparked the Gamecocks with a quick seven points in the second period, including draining her first career 3-pointer to give JSU a 21-20 lead.
Coggins, who had scored just eight total points in her Gamecock career prior to Saturday’s game, finished with a career-high 10 points against SIUE.
The Cougars battled back however, and, despite a JSU layup at the buzzer from Rayven Pearson, SIUE led 32-31 going into the halftime break.
Coming out of halftime, the two teams traded baskets before a JSU cold stretch led to a 10-point advantage for SIUE with 4:50 remaining in the third.
After a quick timeout from coach Rick Pietri, a Gretchen Morrison 3-pointer cut into the Cougar lead and began the comeback for JSU.
JSU trailed 51-48 at the end of the third, and another long-range bomb from Morrison trimmed the Cougar lead to just one with 6:14 remaining.
Morrison drilled four of her six attempted 3-pointers in the second half, finishing with 12 points that all came in the final two frames.
After a Tasha Magruder basket completed the comeback and gave the Gamecocks a one-point advantage, the two teams traded leads down the stretch.
JSU possessed a 62-60 lead with only 1:49 left in the fourth, but the Cougars quickly tied it up with two free throws.
On the Gamecocks’ next possession, SIUE’s Donshel Beck stole the ball and raced to the other end of the floor for a layup that put the Cougars ahead 64- 62.
Beck then pulled down the rebound from a missed JSU shot and found Amri Wilder for yet another fastbreak layup that made the score 66-62 with 0:36 remaining.
JSU was unable to regroup after a timeout, and the Gamecocks fell 69-62.
After Saturday’s shocker, Jacksonville State’s record falls to 10-13 overall and 3-8 in Ohio Valley Conference contests.